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Reaffirming World’s Commitment to Peace

By Mikayla Varunok, United Nations Monitor 

Epsy Campbell Barr, First Vice-President and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Costa Rica, makes remarks during the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit (UN Photo/Cia Pak)

On 24 September 2018, nearly 100 representatives from Member States, intergovernmental organisations and civil society gathered in the United Nations Headquarters for the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit. The Peace Summit offered world leaders the opportunity to renew their commitment to global peace, conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacebuilding, promotion and protection of human rights and long-term development initiatives. Indeed, the outcome document of the Summit, a political declaration, reaffirmed the values of the late Nelson Mandela as well as Member States’ commitments to ensuring sustainable and long-lasting peace rooted in prevention with an integrated approach.

One of the most common Nelson Mandela quotes to be cited at the Summit was: “To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”. This stood in stark contrast to the lack of representation and recognition of the rights and roles of women displayed in the statements delivered at the Summit.  References to Women, Peace and Security were discussed by only 18% of speakers and 12 of the speakers at the Summit were women. Although the political declaration recognises that women’s early and full engagement in peace processes increases awareness of, and responsiveness to, women’s rights and needs, Member States should also match their actions and words and ensure that women are meaningfully represented in peace work.

Read WILPF’s full analysis of the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit here>>

Find the Political Declaration To Be Adopted At The Nelson Mandela Peace Summit here>>